Progress of foreign aided agri projects dismal in first eight months

Kathmandu, April 8

Agricultural projects operating under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development with the help of foreign aid has shown disappointing progress in the first eight months of the current fiscal year 2018-19. A total of 13 projects are ongoing in the current fiscal, of which, two projects have already been completed while the others are in a poor situation.

The list of the 13 foreign-aided projects are Raising Incomes of Small and Medium Farmers Project; Project for Agriculture Commercialisation and Trade (PACT); Integrated Water Resources Management Project; High Value Agriculture Project (HVAP); Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project; Pilot Programme on Climate Resilience; Food & Nutrition Security Enhancement Project; Kisanka Lagi Unnat Biu Bijan Karyakram (Improved Seeds for Farmers Programme); Nepal Agriculture Market Development Programme; Nepal Agriculture Services Development Programme; Livestock Sector Innovation Project; High Mountain Livelihood Improvement Project; and Agriculture Sector Development Programme.

All of these projects are being operated with support of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, United Nations Development Programme, Northern Hill Agriculture Project-China and Rice Breeding Project-China. A total of Rs 3.43 billion budget has been allocated for these projects in the current fiscal year. However, the projects have spent only 21 per cent of the total budget so far. Among the 13 projects, only PACT and HVAP have been completed in the current fiscal year.

The eight-month review report of the ministry has mentioned that except HVAP and PACT, other projects have poor rate of progress. Almost all projects have failed to utilise their capital expenditure. According to the ministry, less expenditure and delay in project studies are the drawbacks of the projects.

“Lack of concrete preparation has affected the implementation of the affected projects,” said Tej Bahadur Subedi, spokesperson for the ministry. He, however, said that all projects are new for the ministry and that is why the project committee took time to do enough preparation before implementing them.

Meanwhile, Subedi also claimed, “We have to carry on with these projects along with our day-to-day work, so lack of time has also affected the projects.” He further requested the project chiefs to speed up their work for the effective implementation of the projects.

Similarly, Yuvak Dhoj GC, secretary of the ministry, said that it is hard to achieve the targeted goal of such projects within the limited timeframe.

“Project implementation has become difficult at present due to the federal system as well,” he said, adding, “The projects have been affected due to the distribution of the authority among federal, provincial and local governments.”

Besides, the employee adjustment, delay in project agreement, delay in project study and lack of proper planning have affected the projects, he added. He, however, assured that the projects will now progress in high speed and directed the project chiefs to speed up their work.